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Singapore PM in Op-Ed Says China Can’t Take U.S.’s Security Role in Southeast Asia

  • Confrontation would last decades, jeopardize ‘Asian century’
  • Asian nations don’t want to be forced to choose sides: PM Lee
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The U.S. security presence “remains vital to the Asia-Pacific region,” and China would be unable to take over that role in Southeast Asia even with its increasing military might, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said.

In an article published by Foreign Affairs on Thursday, Lee wrote that China’s competing maritime and territorial claims in the South China Sea meant that countries in the region will “always see China’s naval presence as an attempt to advance those claims.” He also said that many Southeast Asian nations are “extremely sensitive” about perceptions that China has influence on their sizable ethnic Chinese minorities.